Headtracking - Why haven't you tried it yet?

I finished my headtracking clip today. All I can say is it's a game-changer!

To anyone wanting to try it but not wanting to spend £50+, make your own - mine cost less than £10!

All I used was:
  • OpenTrack (Free, Internet)
  • PS3 Camera (£2.50, CEX)
  • Wire Coathanger (Free, Wardrobe)
  • I/R LED x3 (£2.50 for 10, Amazon)
  • Resistor, 470Ohm(will change depending on LED power draw and battery voltage) x3 (Free, my electrical draw / about 3p each)
  • 9v Battery (Price varies)
  • Wire
  • Wire Cutters
  • Soldering Iron
  • Gluegun

The model for arranging the LEDs is on the OpenTrack software - I made the basic shape from the wire coathanger, with a push-fit shape to secure it to the top of my headphones, then cut off the remainder and glued the LEDs into place.
All the online guides I found say you need to dismantle the PS3 camera to remove the IR filter, but I found it works completely fine without doing this - it picks up the IR without a problem, just play with the camera's Gain and Exposure to block 'background' light.

I really do recommend it to anyone that hasn't tried it - it cost less than a tenner to make and took less than an hour - you really have got no reason not to!
I used to play ED several years ago at the end of beta and shortly after it released. I used to use a No IR solution and our old PS3 camera. Are IR solutions the only options these days? I'm starting to download ED again (soooo SLOW ... grrrr ) and would like to get Tracking set up again. Of course, I'll start my own research in to solutions... but I'd like to hear what others are using -- besides CMDR Shorty's FreeTrack with IR LEDs and Sinisalo's Track IR (which looks a bit pricey from initial check), what is the community using?
Track IR might seem pricey? US$150. I don't know. I've been using it for years, TIR 5 having been released at least 10 years ago now. It always works and works well, and is just such an invaluable tool. And not only in Elite, but in all sorts of games and sims I play. Flight sims like Falcon 4, Black Shark and DCS or racing sims like Assetto Corsa or rFactor, shooters like ArmA. No need to list 'em all I suppose.

From a cost per year point of view it's peanuts, but I get it if the initial cost is prohibitive.

In a similar vein, I bought my Cougar in 2002, nineteen years ago. The stick itself cost about US$300 back then if I recall. But it was designed with inferior gimbals, the metal was too soft, and after a while Cougars would become sloppy, and eventually the gimbals could crack in half. Some owners complained of uneven resistance through the X and Y axes. At that time I was on the staff for a website called Frugal's World of Simulations. I wrote articles and moderated the forums. We were the go-to place on the 'net for Falcon 4. Anyway, when the Cougar was released, Thrustmaster teamed up with us and we hosted Cougar World, which was a support site for the stick. One of our crew, James "Nutty" Hallows, wrote the software suite for it, called Foxy. So it became the main hangout for Cougar owners. When the gimbal issue started to reveal itself in the early production runs, a guy from California joined the forum and said he had a machine shop and had designed a new gimbal system for the Cougar. He showed his designs and offered to make them. The first couple of runs were to be made of titanium. And so the Evenstrain gimbal system was born.

Since I had gotten in on the stick at the ground floor I was in, and off my stick went to California for the replacement. Cost of the gimbal mod alone, in the early-oughts, US$700. This brought the cost of the stick to a cool grand. Outrageous, you might say. But when you also consider it has been used for nearly 20 years, probably what, 20,000, 30,000 hours? Who knows. It's a lot, then it seems like a pretty good investment. Up until the Cougar I was using sticks like Logitech Wingman, and snapping them at regular intervals. I bet I spent as much in $100 Wingmans as I have on the Cougar!

Just an anecdote I hope you guys don't mind, with the moral of the story I guess that you get what you pay for. If you're in the simming game for the long haul, Track IR is a really good investment.
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i had the tobii eyetracker for a half year specifically for elite, but sold it again...

did not fit how i play, was disturbing. if i ever have that money, i want to try real VR
Why do I need it on monitor? At most my eyes move a little
Here's what I can see on my monitor as I move my head around. You might think "surely if you move your head you're no longer looking at your screen" but small movements of your head produce exaggerated movements on the screen and our eyes continue to track what we're looking at so it all works incredibly intuitively.

Source: https://youtu.be/6l5ziP0LwPc


Volunteer Moderator
I haven't tried* it because i play in VR.

*actually not true, I did try OpenTrack, but without a lot of effort - I prefer VR
Good vids you folks have posted. I remember when I first got Track IR i had a concern that the axes it would track along would be hard to control precisely, all wobbly and stuff. Turned out to be unwarranted, and these videos show how precise it is.
I haven't tried* it because i play in VR.

*actually not true, I did try OpenTrack, but without a lot of effort - I prefer VR
I would love to play the game in VR, but cost is a problem at the moment!
Next on my list is a 3D printer, then i'll have another look at VR.
Every time I think of getting something like TrackIR, the price just throws me away. It's half of the price of VR googles for Pete's sake!
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